Policy Diffusion or Insulation? Global Policy Choices and American Public Opinion

37 Pages Posted: 7 Feb 2011

See all articles by Nathan M. Jensen

Nathan M. Jensen

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science

René Lindstädt

University of Birmingham

Justin Leinaweaver

Drury University

Date Written: February 4, 2011

Abstract

We study the diffusion of policy by examining how the policy opinions of Americans are influenced by the policy choices of foreign governments. Using survey experiments, we find limited evidence that foreign governments' policy choices influence American public opinion. Our results show that Americans remain divided on tax and environmental policy, largely along partisan lines, and broadly skeptical of international trade across partisan lines. Our strongest positive finding is in the area of corporate tax policy, where we find that respondents are more likely to support corporate tax reforms when "competitor" governments have reduced their tax rates. This result, which is driven by respondents with the lowest levels of political knowledge, suggests that policy diffusion across borders might be influenced by public perceptions of competition. Yet, the extent of this effect depends on the level of political knowledge in the voting population as well as the specific issue area.

Keywords: Globalization, Diffusion, Learning, Social Learning, Policy Transfer, Room to Maneuver, Party Identification, Tax Policy, Environmental Policy, Trade Policy, Survey, Survey Experiment, Public Opinion, United States, CCES

JEL Classification: C90, D83, E61, E62, F13, F15, F21, F42, F59, K32, Q58

Suggested Citation

Jensen, Nathan M. and Lindstaedt, Rene and Leinaweaver, Justin, Policy Diffusion or Insulation? Global Policy Choices and American Public Opinion (February 4, 2011). Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1754959 or http://dx.doi.org/10.2139/ssrn.1754959

Nathan M. Jensen

Washington University in St. Louis - Department of Political Science ( email )

219 Eliot Hall
St. Louis, MO 63130
United States

Rene Lindstaedt (Contact Author)

University of Birmingham ( email )

Edgbaston, Birmingham B15 2TT
United Kingdom

Justin Leinaweaver

Drury University ( email )

900 N. Benton
Springfield, MO 65802
United States

HOME PAGE: http://www.justinleinaweaver.com

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